LOOKING THROUGH A TELESCOPE AT THE MOON ON THE DAY NEIL ARMSTRONG DIED
by Raena Shirali
we locate apollo’s landing site on a map that shows
there are two sides to everything
& one is always dark, maria,
unfathomable ocean. the dome above is cracked
& only a sliver of seven-o-clock sky peeks
down. how dizzying: these fickle attempts
to track my lover’s swells, swift black shifts
like a night sky peeling. we are determined
to find armstrong’s footing—
all expectation & no satisfaction; all wax,
no wane. & yes, we drift in cycles
i don’t keep track of anymore.
on the wooden viewing platform,
the cincinnati observatory employee tells me
the moon in this lens is reversed,
so i see east where i should see waning curve.
even if things were right-side-up,
our wrongs don’t follow laws,
or adhere to astronomy. in the end,
nothing negates, & what is bright is too much here.
i cannot find the grounding crater.
the selenic overwhelms
& i clutch the eyepiece, a teetering drunk
unsteady even with my heels off, my lover
smiling up at me from the ground.
did you find apollo? he asks
& i think, o, what a tease you are,
moon: a contradiction, a lie of light
& dark. your surface reeking of gunpowder,
your tendency to decompose liquid.
Listen to Raena Shirali’s reading of “looking through a telescope…” below…
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